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Darren Hanlon - Hello Stranger

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 22 / 4 / 2003

Darren Hanlon - Hello Stranger
Label: Drive In
Format: CD


"Witty, clever and also very very melodic" indiepop from gifted Australian singer-sonngwriter, Darren Hanlon

I still remember the first time I heard Australian singer/songwriter (I really hate that phrase) Darren Hanlon. It was on a Candle Records compilation CD called 'Banter', which was released about three years ago. I bought it mostly because The Lucksmiths had two new songs on it , and two new songs from them meant that it would be worth the money, even though the postage from Australia to Sweden is quite expensive. After the two brilliant Lucksmiths-songs, there was this bloke called Darren Hanlon. I had never heard of him before, but, as soon as his first song, 'Fun Park Fugitives' started, I knew that I would like it. When I heard the lyrics for 'Fun Park Fugitives' and 'Beta Losers', his other track on the compilation, I was ecstatic. A man that writes a song about the trouble of having an old Beta video cassette player at home is worth all the admiration he can get. Sadly, I didn’t hear anything from him for a while after that compilation. Not until the equally brilliant EP 'Early Days', which featured a re-recorded version of the aforementioned 'Beta Losers'. Since then, Darren hs released a 7” single called 'Video Store', and also this debut album, called 'Hello Stranger'. This album was actually released a year ago in Australia, but sometimes things move slowly here in Europe. Now though it’s finally available for all you to enjoy! And enjoy it you should, because here we have an album worth of songs that are witty, clever and also very very melodic. Some of the songs are played by Darren alone, and on some of the songs, he gets some back-up help from some of his friends. Lyrically, Darren is quite similar to Marty Donald of the Lucksmiths, as they both like to play with words and also to use words which has more than one meaning to it, which often makes you stop and think for a minute before you realise what they mean. As an example, these are a few lines from the song 'Hiccups', which was recently released as an EP on Candle too: “A thousand ideas I try to tell crossword girl How do I get one across when you’re always too down And if things get hard will you throw in the pen But if you are unsure you can pencil it in” As a sucker for great and witty lyrics, I can’t but love Mr Hanlon and his music. Other highlights on this album are the rockabilly ands groovy 'Punk’s Not Dead', which is about a girl called Punk who rents a room from Darren and his room-mate (“I said “A” for “ABBA”” / she says “a” for “anarchy”), and also 'Operator… Get Me Sweden' , which is about Darren’s girlfriend, Frida, who happens to be Swedish. She even gets to sing lead vocals on one of the tracks here, 'Cast of Thousand'. OK, to cut a long story short, this is an album for those of you who admire the The Lucksmiths, and the rest of the bands on Candle Records. Australian pop doesn’t get any better than this, my friends!

Track Listing:-
1 Hicups
2 The Kickstand Song
3 Thats How I Know
4 He Misses You Too, You Know
5 Operator, Get Me Sweden
6 Security Leak
7 Cast Of Thousands
8 Punk's Not Dead
9 Cheat The Future
10 The Last Night Of Not Knowing You

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